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IIHS's new test: Not all pre-collision systems are created equal

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Old 09-28-13, 12:25 AM   #1
ydooby
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Default IIHS's new test: Not all pre-collision systems are created equal

Kudos to Subaru for earning perfect scores for both of their cars.

IIHS really is keeping many auto makers on their toes lately.

http://www.iihs.org/iihs/news/deskto...ash-prevention

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IIHS issues first crash avoidance ratings under new test program; 7 midsize vehicles earn top marks for front crash prevention

ARLINGTON, Va. — A new test program by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) rates the performance of front crash prevention systems to help consumers decide which features to consider and encourage automakers to speed adoption of the technology. The rating system is based on research by the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) indicating that forward collision warning and automatic braking systems are helping drivers avoid front-to-rear crashes.

The Institute rates models with optional or standard front crash prevention systems as superior, advanced or basic depending on whether they offer autonomous braking, or autobrake, and, if so, how effective it is in tests at 12 and 25 mph. Vehicles rated superior have autobrake and can avoid a crash or substantially reduce speeds in both tests. For an advanced rating a vehicle must have autobrake and avoid a crash or reduce speeds by at least 5 mph in 1 of 2 tests.

To earn a basic rating, a vehicle must have a forward collision warning system that meets National Highway Traffic Safety Administration performance criteria. For a NHTSA endorsement, a system must issue a warning before a specified time in 5 of 7 test trials under three scenarios. The agency identifies vehicles with compliant systems as part of its online ratings.

Moderately priced and luxury midsize cars and SUVs are the first to be evaluated in the new IIHS test program. These include 74 vehicles, all 2013-14 models. Seven earn the highest rating of superior when equipped with optional autobrake and forward collision warning systems. They are the Cadillac ATS sedan and SRX SUV, Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedan, Subaru Legacy sedan and Outback wagon, Volvo S60 sedan and XC60 SUV.

Six models earn an advanced rating when equipped with autobrake and forward collision warning. These include the 2014 Acura MDX SUV, Audi A4 sedan and Q5 SUV, 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV, Lexus ES sedan and the 2014 Mazda 6 sedan. In addition, the Volvo S60 and XC60 earn an advanced rating when they aren't equipped with an option called Collision Warning with Full Auto Brake and Pedestrian Detection. The S60 and XC60 are the only models in the new test program with standard autobrake. Called City Safety, the system brakes to avoid a front-to-rear crash in certain low-speed conditions without warning the driver before it takes action.

Twenty-five other vehicles earn a basic rating. Three models available with forward collision warning earn higher ratings when equipped with autobrake. They are the 2014 Acura MDX and the Cadillac ATS and SRX. Thirty-six models either don't offer a front crash prevention system, or they have a system that doesn't meet NHTSA or IIHS criteria.

"Front crash prevention systems can add a thousand dollars or more to the cost of a new car. Our new ratings let consumers know which systems offer the most promise for the extra expense," says David Zuby, IIHS chief research officer.

The front crash prevention ratings complement the Institute's long-standing crash test program telling consumers how well passenger vehicles protect people in a range of crash configurations. In its crashworthiness program, the Institute rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal or poor based on performance in moderate overlap front, small overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint evaluations.

For crash avoidance technologies, the Institute developed a three-tier rating system of superior, advanced and basic to reflect that even a basic forward collision warning system can provide significant benefits.

About the technology

Front crash prevention is part of a larger group of crash avoidance features spreading through the U.S. vehicle fleet. Marketed under various trade names, system capabilities vary by manufacturer and model, and most are offered as optional add-ons. In general, current front crash prevention systems fall into two categories: forward collision warning and front crash mitigation or prevention with autobrake.

Forward collision warning alerts a driver when the system detects that the vehicle is about to crash into the vehicle in front, but the system doesn't slow down or stop the vehicle. Some forward collision warning systems are combined with an autobrake system to reduce vehicle speeds in a crash, but they aren't designed to avoid the collision. Acura's Collision Mitigation Brake System is an example.

Other autobrake systems can slow down or completely stop the car to avoid some front-to-rear crashes if its driver doesn't brake or steer out of the way in response to a warning. Like the Acura system, these will reduce the speed of those crashes they can't prevent. Cadillac's Automatic Collision Preparation and Volvo's Collision Warning with Full Auto Brake and Pedestrian Detection combined with City Safety are examples.

Another design difference involves whether the vehicle ahead is stopped or moving. All of the front crash prevention systems that earn a superior or advanced rating from IIHS are capable of braking for a stopped or slower-moving vehicle. Some other systems are designed to brake for a stopped car ahead only if sensors first detect the car moving before it stops. The 2013 BMW 3 series sedan is available with this type of system. It gets a basic rating for front crash prevention.

"The point of autobrake systems is to help inattentive drivers avoid rear-ending another car," Zuby explains. "It's clear that the ability to automatically brake for both stopped and moving vehicles prevents the most crashes."

Test track evaluations

To gauge how autobrake systems from different manufacturers perform, the Institute conducted a series of five test runs at speeds of 12 and 25 mph on the track at the Vehicle Research Center in Ruckersville, Va. In each test, an engineer drove the vehicle toward a stationary target designed to simulate the back of a car. Sensors in the test vehicle monitored its lane position, speed, time to collision, braking and other data. The IIHS protocol is similar to the procedure the European New Car Assessment Programme uses to evaluate autobrake systems, which the group plans to begin rating in 2014.

The Institute awards as many as five points in the autobrake tests, based on how much the systems slow the vehicle to avoid hitting the inflatable target or lessen the severity of the impact. In the case of an unavoidable collision, lowering the striking vehicle's speed reduces the crash energy that vehicle structures and restraint systems have to manage. That reduces the amount of damage to both the striking and struck car and minimizes injuries to people traveling in them.

"We decided on 25 mph because development testing indicated that results at this speed were indicative of results at higher speeds — and because higher-speed tests would risk damaging the test vehicles," Zuby says. "As such, we expect crash mitigation benefits at higher speeds as well."

In addition to points in the autobrake tests, vehicles earn one point if they have a forward collision warning system that meets NHTSA criteria. That means vehicles can earn a maximum of six points total for front crash prevention. Models with one point earn a basic rating. A total of 2 to 4 points qualifies vehicles for an advanced rating, and 5 to 6 points qualifies vehicles for a superior rating.

The highest-scoring cars and SUVs have autobrake and substantially reduce speeds in both the 12 and 25 mph tests. Most of these systems prevent the 12 mph collision.

Subaru's EyeSight performed best. It helped the Legacy and Outback avoid hitting the target at both test speeds. Next best was Cadillac's Automatic Collision Preparation. The system helped the ATS and SRX avoid hitting the target in the 12 mph test and reduced the ATS's speed by 15 mph and the SRX's speed by 19 mph in the 25 mph test.

"We want to help get the most effective systems in as many vehicles as soon as possible. That means a speed mitigation system like Subaru's EyeSight that can prevent crashes at low and moderate speeds," Zuby says. "At the same time, we want consumers to know that forward collision warning alone can help them avoid crashes, and it's a feature that's available on more models than autobrake."

Besides the 2013 BMW 3 series, another midsize model advertised with autobrake also earns a basic rating. In tests of the Infiniti JX SUV, there was only minimal braking at 12 and 25 mph. The Toyota Prius v wagon, which claims to have autobrake, had minimal braking in IIHS tests and currently fails to meet NHTSA criteria for forward collision warning. It doesn't qualify for an IIHS front crash prevention rating.

New criteria for highest safety accolade

The Institute introduced the TOP SAFETY PICK+ award last year to recognize models with the best crash protection. To qualify for the 2014 award, vehicles must earn a basic, advanced or superior rating for front crash prevention. This is in addition to a good or acceptable rating for occupant protection in a small overlap front crash, plus good ratings in the moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint tests.

To qualify for a 2014 TOP SAFETY PICK award, models must earn a good or acceptable rating in the small overlap front test, plus good ratings in the moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint tests. Winners of the 2014 awards will be announced in December.
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Old 09-28-13, 05:13 AM   #2
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Amazing one of the least expensive vehicle Subaru performed the best.
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Old 09-28-13, 08:36 AM   #3
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I wonder why no other than Subaru will brake the cars to zero from a 25 mph. I am looking specifically at an MDX and how it's half in, I mean toe in the water. I wonder if they will step up to the plate, and if the future models will come to a full stop.

Also, it is unknown what the effect is at higher speeds like on the highway, I have never had a problem with 12 mph speeds. But I suppose this shows that the Subaru would alloy more brake force,

I would not want to buy a 2014 and the next year see Acura come out with a true braking system, but since this is software related if it could be updated? Would be nice.

I also wonder if there is a specific reason why most systems don't stop fully, maybe they expect the driver to be aware and if the system comes on to judge if the full stop is the best thing, I mean in the Subaru for example what if a full stop would cause a huge truck to run you over? I mean bad eight way but it seems you would have no control in this situation.

Anyway, this whole area of accident mitigation seems like a great advancement,
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Old 09-28-13, 10:35 AM   #4
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Not really sure how the ES system is advanced with the 2014 IS and RX got basic. My understanding is that all Lexus Pre collision systems dont actually brake for you until you press the brake. The LS is the only one with advanced pre collision center which brakes itself
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Old 09-28-13, 03:55 PM   #5
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I enjoyed driving a MKS with adaptive cruise control, lane keeping and crash avoidance. Just set the massage seats and cruise. I let the car brake on its own and it felt way too creepy.
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Old 09-28-13, 04:24 PM   #6
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Not really sure how the ES system is advanced with the 2014 IS and RX got basic. My understanding is that all Lexus Pre collision systems dont actually brake for you until you press the brake. The LS is the only one with advanced pre collision center which brakes itself
its called city auto brake feature... Only 2014 Lexus have it, recent PR has added this to all of their cars... pre-2014 didnt have it.

It is automatic braking regardless of setting you have set in your car, it is not related to cruise control.

Pre-collision systems from Toyota, mostly pre-2014, all had pre-collision warning which would alert you and put everything on the max safety level, but not brake significantly without your input.

For 2014, they added this auto brake feature which brakes for you - usually used in cities, and here it was tested at low speeds up to 15 mph.

Not sure how great it is though, i bet it will activate sometimes when it should not, and what then? You get rear ended.

In any case, i just noticed it being added to every new PR they had out in past few days, with all these 2014 MY PR's.
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Old 09-30-13, 10:48 AM   #7
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well done to Subaru, Cadillac, MBZ and Volvo
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Old 09-30-13, 05:31 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by spwolf View Post
its called city auto brake feature... Only 2014 Lexus have it, recent PR has added this to all of their cars... pre-2014 didnt have it.

It is automatic braking regardless of setting you have set in your car, it is not related to cruise control.

Pre-collision systems from Toyota, mostly pre-2014, all had pre-collision warning which would alert you and put everything on the max safety level, but not brake significantly without your input.

For 2014, they added this auto brake feature which brakes for you - usually used in cities, and here it was tested at low speeds up to 15 mph.

Not sure how great it is though, i bet it will activate sometimes when it should not, and what then? You get rear ended.

In any case, i just noticed it being added to every new PR they had out in past few days, with all these 2014 MY PR's.
they tested the 2014 RX and IS...
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Old 09-30-13, 07:02 PM   #9
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they tested the 2014 RX and IS...
as much as I know, IS doesnt have that system, and RX was just announced? They probably just tested pre-collision which will not autobrake for you.
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Old 10-01-13, 03:53 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spwolf View Post
its called city auto brake feature... Only 2014 Lexus have it, recent PR has added this to all of their cars... pre-2014 didnt have it.

It is automatic braking regardless of setting you have set in your car, it is not related to cruise control.

Pre-collision systems from Toyota, mostly pre-2014, all had pre-collision warning which would alert you and put everything on the max safety level, but not brake significantly without your input.

For 2014, they added this auto brake feature which brakes for you - usually used in cities, and here it was tested at low speeds up to 15 mph.

Not sure how great it is though, i bet it will activate sometimes when it should not, and what then? You get rear ended.

In any case, i just noticed it being added to every new PR they had out in past few days, with all these 2014 MY PR's.
Sometimes I wonder if the vehicle computer systems work and think way differently than what humans do.

I mean, this situation reminds me of Sniiper's Lexus GS (4GS 350 basic). His system had the PCS installed and during one of his drives, the system kicked-in and it worked.

But rather, it worked "way too well" that even a simple gesture (i.e. Sniiper looking at the right side) already caused the PCS system to kick-in.

So, is this going to be a 'man versus machine' kind of thing?
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Old 10-01-13, 05:55 AM   #11
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Just looking into this Mazda6 has a system called city brake, however it only workes at speeds under 19 mph. Seems as if it does nothing at speeds over 19 mph. While I am sure these systems are ok for low speed parking lot dings, but I'd rather have a car slow down on HW if a high speed crash was eminent but Mazda also had a pre crash warning alarm.

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Old 10-01-13, 06:24 AM   #12
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Sometimes I wonder if the vehicle computer systems work and think way differently than what humans do.

I mean, this situation reminds me of Sniiper's Lexus GS (4GS 350 basic). His system had the PCS installed and during one of his drives, the system kicked-in and it worked.

But rather, it worked "way too well" that even a simple gesture (i.e. Sniiper looking at the right side) already caused the PCS system to kick-in.

So, is this going to be a 'man versus machine' kind of thing?
yep... but i guess they think that benefits will outweigh the negatives. It is going to be mandatory from 2014 for EuroNCAP testing I think

I think this system would be good for my wife... while i have pretty good reflexes and i would preffer to disable it.
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Old 10-01-13, 07:30 AM   #13
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i would preffer to disable it.
At the moment, I'm more or less leaning to such disabling such a thing as well.

Especially in Philippine road traffic......where 90% of the drivers drive like in a war-zone (and that's probably something that no computer system can comprehend atm)
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Old 10-01-13, 09:17 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by rai View Post
Just looking into this Mazda6 has a system called city brake, however it only workes at speeds under 19 mph. Seems as if it does nothing at speeds over 19 mph. While I am sure these systems are ok for low speed parking lot dings, but I'd rather have a car slow down on HW if a high speed crash was eminent but Mazda also had a pre crash warning alarm.

http://youtu.be/C1mrHhF-kb0
Agreed, highway slow downs would be helpful but that likely requires a more sophisticated system that was is available on the Mazda 3, which after all is a compact car. Plenty of fender benders happen in stop and go traffic though, and that's where the Mazda3's system is helpful.
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Old 10-01-13, 10:57 AM   #15
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Agreed, highway slow downs would be helpful but that likely requires a more sophisticated system that was is available on the Mazda 3, which after all is a compact car. Plenty of fender benders happen in stop and go traffic though, and that's where the Mazda3's system is helpful.
I know, you ever have a person who starts to merge into a road from a yield and you think he's going to go and you are checking to see if you can merge also and the guy in front chickens out and you end up tapping his bumper, this system would be helpful in that situation.
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